Virtue has been rediscovered in the United States as a subject for public debate and philosophical research. Politicians from both parties, prominent thinkers, and concerned citizens from diverse backgrounds are addressing questions about the content of our personality.
William Bennett's Ethical Guide to Children, A Book of Virtues, was a bestseller in the United States. However, many continue to associate virtue with corrupt Victorian morality or corrupt attempts by the government to legislate morality.
Peter Berkowitz explains the fundamental issues, arguing that some contradiction in virtue reflects the liberal spirit at its best. Drawing on a modern scholarship as well as classical political philosophy, he makes his case with penetrating analyzes of four central figures in the making of modern liberalism: Hobbs, Locke, Kant, and Mill.
These thinkers usually understand that they have neglected or preferred virtue. However, Berkovich has shown that they all believe that the government is based on the basic assumption of liberalism - natural freedom and equality of all human beings - can not succeed unless citizens and incumbents have a special character of mind and personality. These virtues, which include contemplative judgment, sympathetic imagination, self-control, ability to cooperate, and tolerance do not arise on their own but must be sown.
Berkowitz explores the different strategies used by intellectuals in their quest to give virtue to their right while respecting individual freedom. He argues that liberals must combine energy and endurance, and find public and private ways to support these non-governmental institutions such as family associations and voluntary associations.
For these institutions, liberal tradition strongly suggests and plays an indispensable role not only in shaping the virtue of liberal democracy but in overcoming the vices that tend to generate it. This book is a provocative work of political theory, a book written clearly and strongly, and speaks directly to the complex issues at the heart of contemporary philosophy and public debate.
New Forum Books offers both general and undergraduate readerships and interdisciplinary fellowships with a special focus on culture, law and politics. New Forum Books is guided by the conviction that law and policy not only reflect culture but help shape it.
The book includes prominent political scientists, sociologists, legal scientists, philosophers, religious scholars, historians, and economists writing to non-specialist readers and researchers in a range of fields. In view of issues such as political equality, the concept of rights, the problem of virtue in liberal politics, crime and punishment, population, poverty, economic development and the international legal and political order, the New Forum Books seeks to explain - not to explain - the difficult issues we face today..
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